KOLOA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kauai prosecutors are looking into allegations that a Koloa homeowner killed at least four nene with a BB gun last year.
Officials are not identifying the suspect because charges have not been filed, but officials say he owns a home next the exclusive Kukuiula golf course.
"We take all of these allegations seriously. The importance of protecting our natural environment is something that is very important to the people of Hawaii," said Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar.
The nene are federally protected and are native to Hawaii.
In the 1950s, the species was near extinction and even today there are around 2,000 of these birds in the wild.
Sources said the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a 10-month investigation before turning their case over to the prosecutor's office.
Environmental activist Carroll Cox, a former Fish and Wildlife Service agent, said it's unlikely the homeowner can claim he didn't know the birds were a protected species.
"The information we received initially is he was told to leave them alone, they are endangered," said Cox.
The man will likely face misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Each count can lead to up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to a thousand dollars.